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EDITORIAL BELATED SCREENING MLK WORKERS SHOULD HAVE BEEN TESTED BEFORE CLOSURE.

AS Los Angeles County officials start to find new jobs for the 1,600 employees of the failed Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital in other county facilities, they are screening them for competency.

That will help prevent, as Supervisor Gloria Molina put it, allowing the "MLK poison" to spread to other county facilities.

The long-troubled South Los Angeles hospital has failed a critical federal inspection and, as a result, must shut down. The county can't afford to have the incompetence that caused the closure of this vital community hospital infect other institutions.

Among other things, the federal inspection found a lack of supervision of emergency-room patients, staffers who were unable to correctly calculate dosages for medications, and patients put into harm's way.

Yes, it makes sense to screen workers before moving them over.

But wouldn't it have made more sense to start evaluating the work force -- and retraining it when necessary -- years ago, when the first evidence of mismanagement and staff incompetence came to light?

Of course, that assumes there's competence anywhere in county government.
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Title Annotation:Editorial
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Aug 15, 2007
Words:176
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